Marlene Beeson, director of the Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center, was busy working on a grant application this week — the organization’s now annual application for United Way of Harvey County funds.


This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 edition of the Kansan.

Marlene Beeson, director of the Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center, was busy working on a grant application this week — the organization’s now annual application for United Way of Harvey County funds.

“United Way funds are important to the people we serve,” Beeson said. “The people we serve, victims of crime, United Way funds are critical to them.”

Heart to Heart serves as a place for children who have been abused to be interviewed by law enforcement and get plugged into needed psychological support systems.

In 2007, the organization received its first United Way funds, one of 23 agencies given funds from Harvey County United Way.

The 2008 United Way campaign is under way, starting in August with a goal of raising $325,000. So far, more than $89,000 has been raised.

“People should be starting to hear from us, and if not, call me,” said director Lindsay Frasier.

Frasier said this year’s pace-setter campaign — the first group of companies to give funds to United Way — has shown growth over a year ago.

And last year, the Harvey County group raised $332,000 — one of the biggest years on record.

Beeson would love tosee United Way meet those goals again. Her organization is seeing more and more children, meaning there’s a need for more funding each year. So far this year, the organization has served 94 children, on pace to shatter the record of 104 set in 2007.

“Their long-term health and life is at risk if they do not get the support they need,” Beeson said. “We know, and research shows, kids affected by sexual and physical abuse are traumatized. That’s why these funds are so important.”

The goal would seem simple to hit — if half of Harvey County signed up to give $1 from each paycheck to United Way, the organization would collect more than $400,000.

The published goal is $325,000, the same goal put forward in 2007. Despite the statistics, and the larger-than-normal year the organization recorded a year ago, campaign chairwoman Kim Manring said the goal will not be an easy one to reach.

“I think this year will be hard with the economic climate we are in,” said campaign chairwoman Kim Manring. “We have the same crew and many of the same donors but a different economic environment this year.”

Organizations like Heart to Heart are in need of more funds, and Manring said the United Way expects more applications for funds this year.

There could be 27 agencies seeking funds, rather than 23.

“We know the needs are greater,” Manring said. “And the same economic environment is there for our agencies. We really need to meet that funding.”

In addition to Heart to Heart, agencies funded by Harvey County United Way include the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harvey County, CASA: A Voice for Children, Communities in Schools, Community Playschool, Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland, Harvey County Domestic Violence, Health Ministries, Hesston Area Senior Center, Hesston Community Childcare, Mirror Inc., Newton Area Senior Center, Newton Meals on Wheels, Offender/Victim Ministries, Quiviria Council of Boy Scouts, St. Matthew’s Representative Payee Program, Harvey County RSVP, Salvation Army, Trinity Heights United Methodist Respite Care, United Cerebral Palsy, USD 373 Latchkey and Wichita Children’s Home.

For more information on Harvey County United Way, call 283-7101.